Why atheist parents should not shield their children from religion

Why atheist parents should not shield their children from religion August 18, 2014

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My colleague Hemant Mehta over at The Friendly Atheist asked in a new video for his series, The Atheist Voice:

Should atheist parents actively guard children against religion?:

I discuss teaching religion to your children in my upcoming book, Parenting Without God, How to Raise Moral, Ethics and Intelligent Children, Free From Religious Dogma, as well as discussing this just last week on The Thinking Atheist with Seth Andrews, by stressing that as parents, atheist should teach their children about religion, and I mean all religions. Or better put, teach the major religions and the ones you know, you don’t need to go into all unknown thousands if not millions of world religions.

The idea here is that you are educating your child about religion, not as a single source of knowledge, as a theist parent might, but instead you are explaining that belief is often formed by where you live in the world or what religion a child’s parents are and that many people believe different things. Obviously they cannot all be right, but they can all be wrong.

Shielding your child from religion does two big things, number one it gives them an intellectual disadvantage, as the vast majority of the world population worships one god or another, if your child is unaware of this phenomena they are in for many surprises growing up, but I think much more importantly than that, is that if they are unaware of the vast number of religions and what and why people believe such things, they become easy prey for the religious.

Do you really want an evangelical being the first person to talk to your child about Christianity and Jesus Christ? I would think you would much rather be the one to control the discussion and be the one answering the questions your child may have.

If you let someone else get to your child first, they will be the ones to plant the seeds and more often than not scare them into belief through threats of eternal punishment but calm them with the possibility of eternal reward.

So I strongly suggest never shielding your child from religion, just make sure you are in the driver seat and controlling the discussion so that your child gets not only age appropriate information, but also gets this information from someone as yourself with no vested interest in your child joining the ranks of said religion.


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